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Tag: hope

A hope to hold onto

by kerriebutterfield

 

Image by Casa Thomas Jefferson
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I’ve found in life that hope can be a slippery subject. Most often when you need it the most it’s difficult to hold onto, and can slip right out of your hand as you desperately seek to keep a hold of it. At least that has been my experience. I’m often driven by what I see, what I feel, and what I think I know.

Years ago, in a particularly discouraging season, as I was waking up on a Sunday morning, I had this thought run across my brain: “I’m so tired.” Not too surprising for a non-morning person like me. As I lay there, I began to agree with that feeling, and it seemed to gain strength. I mean I was tired, but as I lay there I got more tired. The next thought that skipped across my brain was, “You should sleep in. No one would even notice if you weren’t at church this morning.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Old Hope for the New Year

by Mike McKinniss

I’ve got babies on the brain. My wife and I are expecting the arrival of our first—any day now!—and the occasion has propelled my mind, quite naturally, to new beginnings. During the Advent season, it was a new and wonderful experience to be anticipating the birth of our own daughter while we read the stories of our savior’s arrival. Now, I don’t expect our little girl to be the world’s redeemer, but we’re excited, nonetheless.

In the process, I landed for a time on a passage occasionally associated with Christmas, though it doesn’t highlight the nativity. It’s John’s prologue:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (Jn 1:1-5, NIV).

In the beginning. Made. Life. Light. Darkness.

We’ve heard these words before. They’re words borrowed from the very first pages of the Bible. (Go ahead and read Genesis 1:1–2:3 to get the full context.) It’s a funny thing for John to begin his story about Jesus by first reminding us of creation. What’s he trying to do?

What John and his original audience would have known—and we might not—is that the Christ-child entered a world predominated by darkness. Jesus was born to Jewish parents in the heart of Palestine, maybe a year or two on either side of what we would now call year one. At the time, Jesus’ countrymen were weary. For 700 years (700!), this once noble people had been toiling under foreign oppression. Their latest overlords, the Romans, were among the most brutal, at one time (not long after Jesus’ resurrection) publicly executing so many Jews on crosses, they ran out of wood. Many of Jesus’ contemporaries were enslaved by crippling debt. Where could they look for relief?

It was as Isaiah had predicted several generations earlier: “See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples” (Isa. 60:2a, NIV).

Read the rest of this entry »

Buy the Book. Eat the cookie. Buy the shoes.

by juste buzas

Image by David Lifson
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CC BY-ND 2.0

I was browsing through the cookbook section at my local library’s used book sale when a title caught my eye.  A cookie book.

I pulled it from the shelf.  Instead of a baking book however, it was Joyce Meyer’s book, Eat the Cookie…Buy the Shoes.  I smiled at the misplacement of the book, thinking that a more fitting title for the book’s misfiling could be “Bake the Cookie…Eat it…then, Buy the Shoes.”  I chuckled and turned to find the book’s proper section.

Mid-turn, the Lord spoke to me.  He said, “This isn’t an accident.  Buy the book.” Read the rest of this entry »

His Pride and Joy!

by juste buzas

Image by David Verdugo
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“May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts!  May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and the length and height and depth [of it];”  Ephesians 3:17,18

One afternoon, when I was snuggling with my daughter while watching a movie, God overwhelmed me with the power of His love.  He showed me a picture of this love.  Just as my arms enveloped my dear daughter, His arms were wrapped around us.  My daughter and I were so thoroughly encased in the Father’s embrace that we were completely hidden.  We were wholly and entirely sheltered in His adoration and love.

As I sat there on the couch with my daughter, I realized that my love for my children pales miserably against the reflection of God’s eternal love.  This truth did not discourage me.  Rather, it gave me hope.  Life is the process of becoming like God.  And, God is love.  It is in His love, that this process of life is fulfilled.  It is in God’s love that all things…righteousness, justice, peace, and reconciliation become reality. Read the rest of this entry »

One Word for 2018: Hope!

by juste buzas

Image by David
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“The Lord is my Light and my Salvation – whom shall I fear or dread?  The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?”  (Psalm 27:1)

One afternoon not long ago, I stood on my front porch and watched the beginnings of a thunderstorm roll through the sky.  The sky was wild, exhilarating; alive with color and movement.  I was caught up in the rush of wind and action, struck with wonder at the battleground set before me.  It was as though the place in which I stood was the dividing line between storm and stillness.

To my left, the sky was ominous.  Layers of gray and black rolled together as one, threatening force.  An occasional drum of thunder grumbled from within the darkness.

To my right was brilliant sunshine.  Billowing white clouds set high against a glorious, blue sky.

The stage was set.  The battle was at hand. Read the rest of this entry »

Life’s Storms

by Carol Nicholls

Image by Gerogie Sharp
Flickr.com_photos/georgiesharp/8198287851_CC BY ND 2.0

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5

An SUV is rising several feet into the air landing yards away from where it had been. A tornado is lifting homes off foundations depositing them in tree tops. The effects of powerful storms can be seen almost nightly on television. Sadly, there is an “entertainment” value in watching these events. We all seem to be voyeurs to one degree or another. None of it seems to be real viewed from the living room couch.

Reality sets in when you walk across land recently consumed by a firestorm. The stark spine of a chimney stands where just days ago people cooked dinner, watched TV, mowed the grass. Nothing is left but ashes. Fire, flood, tornado, hurricane, avalanche, mud slides…how many kinds of storms are there?

Natural storms are devastating but the likelihood that they will directly affect us is small. However, life’s storms are even more destructive and most of us will face them multiple times. Read the rest of this entry »

I Hear the Rain

by juste buzas

Image by Ed Merrit
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And said to his servant, ‘Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” Elijah said, ‘Go again seven times.’  And at the seventh time the servant said, ‘A cloud as small as a man’s hand is arising out of the sea.’ (1 Kings 18:43)

Here I am, standing in the desert, under my open umbrella.  I’m waiting for rain.  I know it looks strange, insane even.  I’ve been standing here a long time, and no one seems to get it.  No one understands.  But just listen.  Do you hear it?  Feel it?  No?  Try again.  Listen.  I can hear it.  I hear the rain.  It’s coming.  It’s just upon the horizon. Read the rest of this entry »

Fruition

by juste buzas

seedlings-of-maple-by-retemirable_flickr-com_13210640674_aa3cb20394_CC BY-ND 2.0

seedlings-of-maple-by-retemirable_flickr-com_13210640674_aa3cb20394_CC BY-ND 2.0

For as [surely as] the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring forth, so [surely] the Lord God will cause rightness and justice and praise to spring forth before all nations [through the self-fulfilling power of His word].  (Isaiah 61:11)

One word for 2017:  Fruition.

According to Vocabulary.com, “Fruition is a happy word: it’s derived from the Latin, frui, meaning ‘to enjoy’.”  It means “the condition of bearing fruit; something that is made real or concrete; enjoyment derived from use or possession.”

My young daughter loved planting seeds. She meticulously extracted the seeds from apples, pears, watermelons, oranges and bananas.  Yes, even bananas with all their goo and mush.  She’d carefully nibble away the fruit and set aside her prized, life-filled seeds.  Then out to the front flower garden she’d trot. 

Plastic shovel in hand, she’d dig deep – plowing, tilling and tending the soil until it was rich, moist and free from stone.  She’d sow her seeds with careful tenderness.  She’d water them, watch them and wait.

Time and again, my daughter planted.  Time and again, nothing grew.  She continued her work – day after fruitless day.  Tilling.  Sowing.  Watering.  Watching.  Waiting.

Then, one day. Read the rest of this entry »

Island Time

by Rob Dunne

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I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope. Psalm 130:5.

In 2004, I went on my first mission’s trip. Five young adults and I went to the beautiful island of Jamaica to conduct a vacation bible school. Weeks of planning went into the trip. Each moment of the day was meticulously planned out. Our team arrived at the church and quickly finished preparations. As the 10 o’clock hour came and went, we were all dejected by how few children showed up. Did they neglect to advertise the event?

We quickly learned about the concept of ‘island time’. In a nutshell, Jamaicans have two speeds – slow and slower! In the fast-paced world of New England, we expect everything yesterday. We lack patience or tolerance for things that take longer than a few seconds.

Admittedly, it took us all a few days to adjust to this slower pace of life. Personally, it took even longer to appreciate why they live the way that they do. First, it is hot. If you do things too quickly or exert unnecessary energy, you won’t last the day. Second, they are simply more laid back than us.

As a litigation attorney, I am in a profession that requires me to rise early and work late. By the time I get home and eat supper, my mind and body are drained. Making time to be with Jesus can be difficult. Therefore, I find myself getting creative. Read the rest of this entry »

Waiting, Not Wasting

by mymorethanme

beach waiting“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

A few weeks ago I was hit with a nasty case of food poisoning, which significantly affected my already compromised digestive system. I have been dealing with bacterial overgrowth in my small intestines for seven years, which has caused IBS discomfort, pain, and food intolerances, as well as (I believe) a variety of skin issues. Living with this digestive disorder has greatly impacted the lives of myself and my family. We know this sickness is not from God, and that He desires and is able to heal me. So, why the apparent delay?

The answer is, I don’t know. I don’t know why some are healed instantly, others are healed over time, and still others aren’t healed this side of heaven. I am sure there are many factors involved–some of which I’m fairly certain of, some I can guess at, and others I have no clue about. Read the rest of this entry »

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